Findings: Treatment-resistant hypertension exerts serious emotional toll on patients
Results from a large, international survey on treatment-resistant hypertension (rHTN) found rHTN has a significant impact on patients' quality of life, having a negative impact on mood, work and interpersonal relationships.
These findings underscore the critical need to more aggressively educate and empower patients and healthcare professionals to help improve control of rHTN. The survey results were published in the Journal of Hypertension, the official journal of the International Society of Hypertension and the European Society of Hypertension.
Nearly 120 million people worldwide suffer with rHTN, defined as persistently high blood pressure despite treatment with three or more antihypertensive medications. Treatment-resistant hypertension is caused by multiple factors, including lifestyle and underlying conditions, making its diagnosis and management complex, often requiring a multi-disciplinary approach. Patients with rHTN have a three-fold increase in risk of cardiovascular events, including stroke and heart attack, compared to individuals with controlled hypertension.
To better understand this growing population of at-risk patients, Power Over Pressure, a coalition of global hypertension experts endorsed by the American Society of Hypertension and the European Society of Hypertension, commissioned a global study of uncontrolled hypertension patients, half of whom are treatment-resistant. The survey was conducted online in October, 2011 by Harris Interactive among more than 4,500 uncontrolled hypertension patients in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.
The survey results showed people with rHTN are very worried about their overall health. Although most reported being under the care of a general practitioner or cardiologist, 67% described their overall health as 'fair or poor.' Patients said their blood pressure negatively affects their mood (25%), sex life (32%) and self-esteem (29%). Furthermore, 75% said their quality of life would greatly improve if they could get their blood pressure under control.
"Treatment-resistant hypertension takes a significant toll on a person's quality of life, both physically and emotionally. It can be a very frustrating condition to manage for both patients and their physicians," said Roland Schmieder, M.D., professor at the University Hospital Erlangen in Germany and co-chair of the Power Over Pressure steering committee.
For patients with rHTN, the condition is clearly their most serious health concern and it has a profound impact on their everyday lives. Fifty-seven percent reported they are often anxious about managing their blood pressure and 41% reported feeling powerless to control their high blood pressure. When asked about their doctor's attitude about their hypertension, 32% felt their doctor underestimates how much their high blood pressure impacts their life.